Arguably the two best free agents of baseball’s offseason are still unsigned with MLB Opening Day less than a month away. As teams pursue Freddie Freeman and Carlos Correa for the 2022 season and beyond, the superstars might end up with the top World Series contenders.
Where will Freeman and Correa sign? What will their contracts look like?
Here are predictions for the best remaining free agents on the MLB market.
Freddie Freeman: Los Angeles Dodgers (Six-Year, $180 Million Contract)
The Atlanta Braves closed the door on bringing back Freeman by trading for first baseman Matt Olson. The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays have all been linked to Freeman. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays are viewed as the frontrunners for the 2020 NL MVP winner.
Joining Toronto would make plenty of sense for Freeman. His parents were born in Canada and he has dual citizenship. Freeman even played for Team Canada in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. After winning 91 games a season ago, the Blue Jays might be ready to compete for a championship in 2022.
Red Sox have joined the Freddie Freeman sweepstakes as things get more interesting. Teams known to be in now: the Dodgers plus 4 from AL East: Yankees, Rays and Jays, too
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 15, 2022
There’s no doubt that the Dodgers will be in the title hunt. Los Angeles is the World Series favorite, having won 106 games in two of the last three seasons. After losing Max Scherzer and Corey Seager in free agency, it’s hard to see the Dodgers being outbid for Freeman if they really want him on the roster.
Freeman reportedly turned down a five-year, $135 million offer from Atlanta in search of a six-year, $180 million deal. Never afraid to spend in pursuit of a championship, the Dodgers shouldn’t have a problem meeting Freeman’s asking price.
Carlos Correa: Houston Astros (Six-Year, $195 Million Contract)
Correa’s options are limited compared to the start of free agency. The Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers have already signed marquee shortstops. The New York Yankees don’t seem interested in committing big money to a shortstop. Correa will land a lucrative contract from someone, but it’s looking less likely that it’ll be in the $300 million range as some had predicted.
There are reports that Correa could re-sign with Houston on a short deal, one that includes an opt-out and could allow him to re-enter free agency soon, potentially after this season. Correa reportedly rejected a six-year, $120 million offer from the Astros last season. In free agency, he turned down a $275 million contract over 10 years from Detroit.
Agents have been predicting for weeks that Correa could take a deal in the range of six years with the Astros, at a high salary, with an opt-out after the first year. Mitigates some of the risk for him, and HOU would get a key player back. Crane has no interest in rebuilding.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) March 14, 2022
Astros plan to make new offer to free-agent shortstop Carlos Correa shortly, source tells @TheAthletic† His potential return is creating buzz in camp. “Players can’t stop talking about it,” one source said.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 15, 2022
What would it take for Correa to stay in Houston? Seager’s free-agent deal with Texas was $325 million over 10 years. The Astros could match that average annual salary with a contract worth $32.5 million per season.
Houston reached the 2021 World Series and has plans on returning to the Fall Classic. The Astros might be willing to increase their initial offer significantly if it means staying the AL favorites. Unless a team like the Chicago Cubs swoops in with an unexpected offer, Correa will probably stay in Houston.